Quick...what do the Mormon and Catholic churches, the host of the Master’s Golf Tournament, and Smith, Wellesley, Bryn Mawr colleges all have in common?
If you said they were discriminating organizations you would be right.
All of the above organizations are private institutions that have rules in place which discriminate against certain groups in selecting their membership and/or leadership.
Augusta National Golf Club
The Master’s golf tournament, one of four major tournaments held each year by the PGA, was hosted this past week at Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia. Unlike the other three major PGA tournaments, The Masters is permanently played at Augusta National.
Augusta National is a private golf club. Official membership at Augusta is a guarded secret but it is widely known fact that not a single woman has been accepted as a member at Augusta National.
Several attempts have been made over the years to try and persuade and pressure the club to accept female members only to be rebuffed by the club’s membership. More recently, an attempt was even aimed at boycotting the Tournament’s key three sponsors (there are only three primary sponsors allowed) so the club decided that it would rather forego sponsorship than be coerced to change its single-sex policies.
Philosophically, I’m okay with a private organization maintaining its membership the way it wants. It doesn’t take any public funds and it is my sole choice whether or not I want to support their golf tournament with my time or money.
One of the more interesting side-bars to this year’s Master’s tournament was the question concerning Virginia Rometty, the newly installed CEO of IBM. As it so happens, IBM is one of those three chosen long-term key sponsors of the Master’s. As part of the quid pro quo of cooperation between IBM and Augusta National, membership to the Club has been historically and traditionally been bestowed upon each reigning CEO of IBM.
Uh-oh...now what does Augusta National do?
To date, Augusta National is still men-only but that may come to an abrupt end shortly as one tradition may trump another tradition.
This isn’t Burger King...so you don’t get it your way...
Next month, I’m attending my niece’s wedding in Utah. Well...I guess I should be clear...I’m attending my niece’s wedding reception.
My niece is a member of the Church of Latter-Day Saints and its followers are known as Mormons.
I am not a member of the Church of the Latter-Day Saints, therefore I am not allowed into the LDS Temple where the actual wedding ceremony will be taking place. Regardless of how silly or stupid this might seem to an outsider, this is their church and this is their rule.
I will very much enjoy myself at the wedding reception visiting with family and making new friends and acquaintances...so why do I care if I can’t attend the ceremony?...I don’t.
Many years ago, I was baptized and raised in a Catholic home. I went to parochial school for a few years. I went to mass on Sundays. I participated in church rituals such as Ash Wednesday, Lent, Confession, and meat-less Fridays.
Beyond certain atrocities performed by individual clergy members and later covered up by the church’s hierarchy, which is inexcusable, I have a great deal of respect for the Catholic Church as a religious organization.
They have a set of rules that govern the Church that are seemingly cast in stone...the Catholic Church is not in any way a democratic organization...they are a dictatorship (well...really an oligopoly...with the Pope leading a select few unelected hand-selected leaders)...
But once again, I have the utmost respect for the Church.
They have, over the years, created a set of beliefs, tenets, and rules to guide their church. They have explicitly told its members and prospective members that this is who we are and what we believe in. You can choose to join us or you can choose to not join us. We’re not changing the rules to suit you.
Unfortunately...some people didn’t get the memo...they have chosen to join the church and now are intent to change it to their own liking.
That’s not the way it works...if you don’t like it...leave and join a religious organization that aligns itself more closely with your own personal beliefs. It’s no longer the middle-ages; where you most-likely will be persecuted for not following a certain set of church beliefs.
You can worship freely with those who believe the same way you do. It’s their church not yours.
About nine years ago, my daughter asked her mom and I if she could attend a local all-girls high school (this after attending a more typical co-ed elementary school). It was her belief that by eliminating the distraction of boys during school hours, a greater emphasis could be devoted toward her studies rather than playing the typical social high school games.
For her, school was a place for learning and having boys present only distracted from this goal. Of course there was an all-boys school a few miles away and the two schools engaged in several social activities together such as dances, theatrical and sporting events.
At the college level, there are several well-known same-sex institutions, such as Smith College, Bryn Mawr and Wellesley College (although Wellesley’s enrollment now includes about 2% males) that have educated some of our greatest thinkers and leaders.
Same-sex educational institutions are not bad places to attend school if that is your choice.
The unfortuante thing is that activists are now attempting to break down the walls of so-called injustice by trying to force these campuses to become co-ed. There is no real reason to do this other than the fact that the walls are simply there.
There are plenty of alternatives available if one chooses to go to a co-ed school but that doesn’t seem to be acceptable to a certain segment of the population.
One of the greatest human rights is that to associate. In a free world, we have the expressed opportunity to choose our friends and relationships, choose the places we go to school and work, choose the places we live, choose the people who lead us, and choose where we worship.
In each case, we are free to choose to be included.
However, the flip side to this thought is that the organization is also free to choose or not to choose us in return. They may choose to be exclusive.
We can choose to go to a particular university...but that university must in turn choose us as well...
We can choose to join a club or organization...but they may not accept us for whatever reason...
We can choose to work at a particular company, but the company may choose not to hire us...
We can choose a place of worship, but we must agree to follow their beliefs...
That’s the way any relationship works...nature is a very discriminating...and so is the world...
Myself, I typically only choose to belong where I am wanted and/or where I agree with their beliefs and ideas...and I’m mostly okay with that...
Thank you for your support of OptiFuse where it is always our choice to be inclusive rather than being exclusive.